The 2010s was a hugely impactful era for the video game industry. The scene continued on the strong upward turn it had started to experience in the early 2000s, having already broken past the billion dollar threshold for the first time in 2008, but the strong improvements in technology and software capabilities allowed for games and titles to continue pushing the boundaries on what was possible to be shoved onto the small screen.
The invention and subsequent explosion in popularity of online multiplayer games were probably the biggest winners across the decade, going from strength to strength and redefining both the competitive scenes and the overall landscape for what made a game a hit in the mainstream. Here are some of the best games to have been released in the 2010s.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released in 2017, three years after A Link Between Worlds and a whopping six years after Nintendo last released a game in the series, Skyward Sword, for a home console.
Breath of the Wild is, in many ways, the best example of Nintendo really going out of their way to foray into the world of modern day open world games. Launched as a release title for the Nintendo Switch, it helped carry the popularity of the new system upon its launch and almost single handedly swung plenty of consumers into the Nintendo family. The storyline was deep and emotional, the visuals were breathtaking and unique, and the combination of linear progression and open world freedom made this version of Hyrule feel like the most fantastical the series had ever managed.
League of Legends (2009)
Though League of Legends was officially first released in late October 2009, its real boom was reserved for the 2010s. Practically inventing the MOBA (Massive Online Multiplayer Battle Arena) genre and bringing it to the attention of the mainstream, League of Legends brought with it a level of strategy and skill that has helped launch the growth of the Esports sector of gaming. Gamers are now able to make money playing games thanks to the influx of sponsorships and partnerships with huge multinational companies, fans can now check out the latest LoL odds for a chance of making money in the same way they can with real world sports, and more people now line huge arenas and tune in to watch major Esports titles like League of Legends than things like the UEFA Champions League final and Super Bowl.
Pokemon Go (2016)
Ask anyone about the summer of 2016, and they should give you an almost whimsical look and begin reminiscing about the time a video game changed the entire way entertainment was digested by society.
Pokemon Go was released in 2016 as a mobile app that allowed users to go on their very own adventure and collect as many Pokemon as they could. Utilising a groundbreaking AR technology, Pokemon Go did the unthinkable and bridged the gap between exercise and gaming. Whilst its time at the top might have been brief, there’s no denying the impact Pokemon Go had on reshaping and redefining the gaming scene.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Probably the first example of a video game experiencing a new level of hype thanks to the newfound accessibility of the internet, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V remains the single biggest entertainment product of all time. With an ambitious and gripping storyline, huge online multiplayer mode and vibrant open world filled with various storylines, missions and collectibles, Grand Theft Auto V has raked in a cool $6 billion in revenue following its initial release, and has revolutionised the gaming industry with its countless DLCs and re-releases across various systems.
If League of Legends helped birth the competitive world of Esports, Fortnite was the game that helped really put it front and centre in the mainstream. Though it wasn’t technically the first example of a battle royale game being made, Fortnite’s success has helped make it an absolutely inescapable cultural phenomenon that everyone has heard of. Everyone from celebrities to professional athletes have come out as fans, streamers such as Ninja now make millions of dollars every time they go live playing the game and its professional scene broke records within the Esports industry when its first official Fortnite World Cup smashed past the $35 million prize pool mark in 2019.
A seventeen year old professional Fortnite player known as Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf shot to international superstardom after winning the very first Fortnite World Cup, pocketing $3 million from winning the solos event, and helping gamers everywhere believe that they too can make their fortunes in the video game world.